Sunday, October 4, 2009

Writing Stories That Fly, Part II

By Celinda Barefield

Now you have a book on how to write. The question becomes, how do I apply it to my writing? This can be seen as a downer for most writers. If it wasn’t hard enough getting just the right book to fix your problem, now you have to actually read it and apply the written word to your work. This might seem a Herculean task, but with these three steps it is accomplishable.

1. Read the book. Yes, I know we like to focus on writing, but sometimes it can be helpful to take a break and read something by someone else, especially if it will ultimately improve what we are working on. I know, it sounds crazy, but it is possible other people can help us.

2. Highlight the parts that catch your interest. Maybe they relate to a problem area, or maybe they were just funny. It could be an exercise, a quick quote, or even a smart how- to tip. The point is that you looked for help and are enthusiastic about writing again.

3. Apply your newfound knowledge. That’s it. The big secret of writing. If you take the time to use what you learn, your writing will get better.

Now, go out and conquer!


Anonymous said...

I have read a number of writing books, they have different angles and approaches and advice, they do not really seem to conflict with each other, just different roads to get to the big city, my problem with my autobiography, which I am writing myself, about myself, is that I do not know what details to put in and which to leave out, I leave out the ones that others in the group think that I need and put in the ones that I do not need,it is like I lived it and it is perfectly clear to me, why is it not clear to others??????????

Lisa said...


Your suggestions are well-taken! I've been putting this to practice for the last year, highlighting areas where I think the author: 1) handled a transition well; 2) explored emotion through a character's movements; or 3) wove backstory into dialogue and throughout each chapter.

It really does help -- thanks for a great tip!